July 17, 2020
The North Dakota Department of Commerce recently announced the creation of a $69 million Economic Resiliency Grant (ERG) program available to private companies and nonprofits operating in North Dakota for investments with the purpose of reducing the spread of COVID-19 infection, and instilling consumer confidence in the marketplace. Businesses with one physical location are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000 or up to $100,000 for businesses with multiple locations.
Eligible businesses include private for-profit and non-profit businesses that interact directly with customers. The proposed investment must decrease the spread of infection, and this will have to be clearly articulated in the application. Qualified improvements already made (after March 27) are eligible for reimbursement through the grant. Whether improvements have been already made, or whether you will be submitting a proposal for future improvements, it is critical to keep very detailed documentation as there will be an audit of your expenses post-award. Applicants must also demonstrate how they directly interface with consumers or how the improvements directly benefit consumers through supply chain impacts.
The following businesses are NOT eligible: businesses with no live customer interaction (not including manufacturers), at-home businesses (with the exception of licensed daycare facilities), companies that are able to relocate employees to remote workplaces and maintain productivity, governmental, regulatory, and public administrative entities, and lobbying organizations.
Investments must be direct and are meant to reduce the spread of infection. Applicants are encouraged to think outside of the box, but examples of direct investments may include:
- Touchless payment systems or document signing systems;
- Automatic doors;
- Automatic faucets/toilets/hand dryers, and door kicks;
- Technology to manage take-out or drive-through orders;
- Improvements that create distance between customers or employees;
- Expanded outdoor dining;
- Partitions between workers who cannot be socially distanced;
- Personal protection equipment (PPE);
- UV sanitizers;
- Temperature checking equipment.
Applications open August 12, 2020 and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds will be dispersed by September 25, 2020 and must be expended within 45 days of receiving the grant. Any funds not used for specific approved expenses must be returned to the state.
For more information go to https://ndresponse.gov/covid-19-resources and click on Business and Employer Resources or contact Julie Campbell (Walsh County) at 701-352-2171 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dawn Mandt (Rural Grand Forks/Nelson/Pembina Counties) at 701-352-3550 or email@example.com.